National Environmental Education Act introduced by members of Congress from NY, DE, and CO

Reauthorization bill supports a more competitive, sustainable and environmentally literate country

09-23-2010 // Amanda Cooke

Field trip to a nature preserve

The National Environmental Education Act (S. 3833 and H.R. 6194), or NEEA, introduced today in both houses of Congress, will help ensure that Americans, from preschoolers to seniors, receive the educational foundation needed to better understand complex environmental issues that impact our fragile planet.

National Wildlife Federation, part of a broad coalition of environmental and educational organizations supporting this bill, praised Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Representative Jared Polis of Colorado, and Representative Michael Castle of Delaware for working to advance environmental education.

The need for ecological literacy

“Reauthorizing the National Environmental Education Act will bolster environmental literacy in America and strengthen our nation’s education and conservation infrastructure. Enhanced knowledge, provided by this legislation, can be used to better protect the natural resources on which we rely for survival. The recent Gulf oil spill only highlights our need to bolster an informed, ecologically literate generation of conservation stewards,” Kevin Coyle, NWF’s vice president of education and training, said in a press release.

Today, the bill’s lead sponsors launched an effort to update and modernize the NEEA, an act that has advanced environmental literacy in the United States for the last 20 years.

Signed into law by the 101st Congress in 1990, the NEEA has led to measurable improvement in the quality of environmental education around the country. This reauthorization builds on a 20-year investment started by the NEEA that laid the foundation for building environmental literacy across the country through elementary, secondary and graduate school initiatives, employee sustainability education at businesses, a greater emphasis on greener jobs and products, and much more.

Take action

Environmental education encourages critical thinking, saves money, conserves resources and positions America to be a leader in the clean energy economy. Studies show that environmentally literate students perform better on standardized tests and are more likely to overcome classroom challenges.

However, schools today are cutting environmental education, field trips and other outdoor activities; and visits to national parks have dropped in recent years.  Luckily there are still efforts to enhance environmental literacy and prepare Americans for the clean energy jobs of the 21st Century.

Click here to urge your members of Congress to support the passage of the National Environmental Education Act to provide funding for lifelong environmental education.

Read the Congressional press release, and view the NEEA fact sheet, here.

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